Sunday, February 10, 2008

Art Forum Picks Little Tree

Our little city with INTENSE being doesn't make it on many pages in Artforum, which can be hard for me to bear sometimes. But, checking their online reviews and picks, I came across this write up by Glen Helfand.

Pablo Guardiola

3412 22nd Street
January 12–February 16

"The crux of this exhibition of seven prints and a single sculpture is an iconic untitled photograph of a brown paper lunch bag on a table. The bag is crumpled at the top, while its squarish midsection is marked by a grease stain in the shape of a world map. With this image, Pablo Guardiola manages to pack a cargo container’s worth of international allusions into a humble sack. While the bag’s contents remain a mystery, the oil blotches clearly stem from something homemade: There are no crisp corporate logos in evidence, only continental forms with fuzzy edges, and perhaps the promise of some delectable, deep-fried surprise from Mom. The image is wry in the manner of photographs by Gabriel Orozco or fellow Bay Area artist Will Rogan and is similarly steeped in a global milieu. The picture politicizes Guardiola’s other, more ambiguous works—most explicitly in Much More than a Brand of Crackers, a Beer, a Malt Beverage and a Legendary TaĆ­no Leader (all works 2007), in which a bottle cap, with a brightly colored logo that reads HATUEY, is positioned on asphalt, resembling a glowing sun against a murky sky. Hatuey is a soft drink and beer brand named after a fervently anticolonialist Cuban hero. The direct reference to a notable personage is less successful than Guardiola’s more open-ended images, such as Sunset in a Bucket, a picture of a plastic pail almost entirely leached of its red tint by the glare of daylight. Also photographed against an asphalt background, the bucket becomes a reference to cheap goods, manual labor, and photography’s ability to capture and hold light. That latter theme, underlying much of the show, takes its most blazing form, ironically, as a sculpture, made of a fish tank–like Plexiglas box with a floodlight embedded in its top and pointed downward. Titled Some Ideas Should Be Kept Warm, the work is one of barbed minimalism, its hot air and focused beam capable of blistering the surface of the wooden plank that supports the piece."

1 comment:

Allie said...

I love that brown bag piece!